Blogging Through Breast Cancer

Blogging Through Breast Cancer

Young women with high cancer risk and early-onset breast cancer blog their way through diagnosis and treatment with humor, strength, and grace.

Earlier this year, we highlighted a few mental health bloggers on WordPress.com. Many people with health challenges use blogs to vent, commiserate, and inspire — check the diabetes, celiac, or fibromyalgia topics to find networks of bloggers sharing treatment tips, success stories, and more.

Women coping with young-onset breast cancer or with the BRCA gene (the mutation that prompted Angelina Jolie’s mastectomy) are building a particularly robust, feisty community. Here are a few survivors speaking out:

Ticking Time Bombs

Twenty-three-year-old Rachel Horn is already observing the second anniversary of her bilateral prophylactic mastectomy — the complete removal of all her breast tissue in response to testing positive for BRCA. She chronicles the surgery and its aftermath on Ticking Time Bombs:

time bombs

Along with descriptions of the BRCA genes and resources for women at risk, Ticking Time Bombs walks readers through the entire process of diagnosis, decision-making, surgery, breast reconstruction, and post-op adjustment. Now two years post-mastectomy, she’s as likely to be posting tips for dating post-surgery and roundups of the best bikinis for women with reconstructed breasts as she is to muse on life after a mastectomy.

Journeying Beyond Breast Cancer

Maria Ennis-O’Conner got her diagnosis at age 34. Now physically healthy after nine months of surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation treatment, she finds herself struggling to shape a post-cancer identity. Frustrated with the resources she found, she decided to create one — and Journeying Beyond Breast Cancer was born:

beyond

On Journeying, Maria weaves together resources to help breast cancer survivors rebuild their lives, from new studies to inspirational tweets, with her own reflections. For real-time conversation, she also organizes the monthly Breast Cancer Chat Europe on Twitter; follow #BCCEU the first Thursday of each month at 8:30PM GMT to participate.

The Risky Body

Another blogger saw a hole in the resources available to women facing difficult decisions about their cancer risks: a lack of critical feminist analysis of treatment and support options for those with the BRCA mutation. She filled the gap with The Risky Body:

risky body

Her provocative blog picks apart the economic realities of diagnosis, the troubling messages she sees in initiatives aimed at supporting women at risk, race-based inequalities in treatment, and more. The Risky Body is essential reading for anyone interested in the “business” of cancer treatment from a feminist perspective.

Thoughts from FORCE

FORCE — short for “Facing Our Risk of Cancer Empowered” — is a nonprofit dedicated to supporting the 1,000,000+ women and families affected by hereditary breast and ovarian cancers caused by the BRCA mutation. Sue Friedman, FORCE’s executive director, blogs on WordPress.com:

force

She uses her blog to advocate for research and treatment initiatives that support long-term health for women with the BRCA mutation, and offers thoughtful analyses of media coverage of BRCA issues and research.

Although a distressingly high percentage of women will face breast cancer in their lifetimes, far fewer are confronted with the risks of a BRCA mutation or early-onset cancer. Blogs give these young women a way to connect with others, learn more about their diagnosis, and create a deep support network.


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Posted by WordPress Guru